Most people won't ever forget where they were on September 11, 2011 upon first hearing the news of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers and learning the United States was under attack. Now, on the eve of the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, a small group of dedicated cyclists are about to commemorate the occasion with a bike ride beginning in one of America's most beautiful national parks, while simultaneously raising funds and awareness for Court Appointed Special Advocates in Montana.
55 cyclists from around Montana and across the country are gearing up to ride 400 miles in five days on Park-2-Park Montana, a fully supported tour showcasing some of the most beautiful areas of "Big Sky Country." Gathering this weekend, participants will be leaving St. Mary’s KOA on the eastside of Glacier Park early Monday morning after a blessing from the Blackfeet Elders on their tribal lands. They will ride through the reservation to Browning and onto Dupuyer the first day and Great Falls the second. They ride more than 100 miles Wednesday from Great Falls to White Sulphur Springs and finish the ride Friday at Gardiner near Yellowstone Park.
A local doctor, two nurses and a VISTA supervisor are among the bicyclists who will take off from Glacier Park this weekend. Dr. Michael Hay is riding his multi-day tour. He’s excited about his new carbon fiber bike, but a bit nervous about the ride. Joining him are nurses Heather Lambott and Renee Bonanini. They all work together at the Helena Surgery Center and will be biking together. “I’m bouncing off the walls right now,” said Renee. “I’m like a kid going to Disney World. It’s nine days of endorphins and all for a good cause (raising money for CASA)."
CASA of Montana offers the 15 local CASA programs education and networking opportunities to help volunteers who speak up for the best interest of abused and neglected children. More than 450 CASA volunteers are advocating for more than 1,000 children in the child welfare system. Last year’s ride raised $60,000 for CASA of Montana and local CASA programs. This year’s goal is $65,000.
(Photo, left: Susen Marie and Doug Duguay on the 2010 P2P Montana ride.) Doug Duguay, owner and Sales Manager of BicyclingHub.com, will once again be joining the riders on tour and documenting the experience. Be sure to visit BicyclingHub's Facebook Fan Page each day next week for a photo journal documenting the day's highlights and stay in touch with your fellow riders.